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March 23, 2020

Tips on maintaining Eating Disorder recovery in regards to COVID-19

This is an  article on the thoughts of how the current events could be triggering for people with Eating Disorders, previously recovered.

Below are a few tips on maintaining Eating Disorder recovery in regards to COVID-19. This is for people in recovery, people who have recovered and supporters and peers of those looking out for those who have previously suffered. What to look out for if you or a loved one may be in danger of spiralling. Even if recovered, there will always be an underlying voice dictating your everyday move. In such situations, this voice can reappear louder. I want to put a trigger warning on here for those that may still be in recovery. Words that are usually banned in public forms will likely be mentioned below.


How can COVID-19 can be triggering?



It’s already a stressful situation with the amount of uncertainty right now. In times of high stress, people with a history of an eating disorder…as a heads up to those of you who aren’t aware; it’s a means of control. With this lack of control our minds can go haywire. In order to resolve said uncertainty or anxieties our go-to coping mechanism will be food, or there lack of. 


We crave structure. When confined to our homes, like many if not most of us are right now! We may have the tendency to lose sense of structure with eating. The sudden surge to hoard food triggers us into survival mode. Having this much food readily available is frightening for some. Some may have the urge to eat it all, whereas some may use this as an indicator to eat less and ration. Remember when in this state, our brains may come up with nonsensical rules in regards to regular meals. Nonsensical rules in regards to eating. Nonsensical rules in regards to anything our brain may come up with.


One quote that sticks with me from an article that really touched home ‘14 Things Your Loved One With an Eating Disorder Wants You to Know (But is Afraid to Tell you)’ by Lisette Hoscheck; “Unlike an addict who abstains from their substance of choice, a person with an eating disorder must face eating food 3-5 times a day… Every. Single. Day.  Each day can be filled with multiple challenges other people find typical.” 



Eating disorders LOVE isolation! It is the perfect environment to re-engage behaviours you’ve worked to overcome. The same with any form of mental health, being in your own head and delving right into that downward spiral we crave!


Lack of Exercise

Being sedentary is a real fear. I remember the anxiety I had before I was due to go on the first long-haul flight whilst very ill and at my lowest weight. The 8 hours of sitting put me into a frenzy of obsessively lowering my calorie intake for the duration of my trip. Although I no longer calorie count, which is a big thing to overcome, I know people who have recovered and this is still something they have to do in order to get by day to day, in states of high stress, again this is our natural go-to in order to gain control.


I’m lucky in the sense that I have overcome the worst of it. I’d like to think I have my shit together in comparison to a few years back. But in reality, although I’ve been “recovered” for a number of years now, these last few days have had me stressing and my anxiety has been HIGH. In turn, I’ve been wanting to isolate more and have found myself being very overwhelmed with regards to food and meals. So, I just wanted to reach out for those of you in similar positions. The mass amount of negativity it’s having on people is more infectious than the virus itself. We need to look out for each other. For me, I abolished all meal plans and currently try to eat instinctively. In turn, I’m now faced with being forced to think about my meals and when to eat. Trying to decipher hunger or thirst. Hunger or boredom. Lack of hunger or disordered thinking.


What can you do to help keep on top of it all?


People are restricted from numerous activities which they may have successfully used to cope, including exercise, support groups, and treatment providers…remember we have been through this once, we can remain on top of it. Go back to basics and remember what we’ve learnt.


Reach out

If you are feeling uneasy about ANYTHING, talk. May this be to family members, friends, virtually to a therapist, online forms. Don’t succumb to living in your own head.



Write to your heart’s content. Especially if you’re in isolation right now, this may be the only form of venting you have. Write to anyone, even if it’s not to be read. Let it all out.


Be Creative

In whatever form this may be. Art, music, poetry, photography. #createdinquarantine is being used on Instagram for creatives to share work they’re making in isolation.


Learn Something New

Keep your mind occupied. Read, watch some awesome documentaries. Learn a new language. Sure there are a lot of free courses online right now!


Live Streams

This is the day-in-age we are living in now! Yoga, meditation, you name it. Try to keep calm through this and breathe. This is the point where I’m meant to link awesome yoga streams but instead I’m going to link a live stream of Kansas City Zoo’s live Penguin stream! Here



I don’t know about you, but I think music is the greatest healer of all. Find new music, reminisce with old favourites. Get that dopamine flowing!
Bandcamp is giving 100% of all proceeds to the artist right now. Share the love!
My lovely friend recommended this site for online live shows. Link Here and this one, too!


This will be dependent on your current location and situation. But if it’s safe and possible, even just a walk round the block to get some mental clarity and air.


Online Counselling

Better Help

7 Cups


You have got this! x


I’d like to ask if you know of someone that has currently or has previously suffered with an eating disorder of any kind, please be vigilant and offer an open ear in case of a possible relapse. For those currently in recovery, we need to make sure to be extra diligent. Remember if there’s lack of food, nutrients and a low body weight that’s in starvation mode, this is not a healthy body and may be more susceptible to illness. This even true for those of a “healthy body weight” but still actively partaking in disordered eating. It may not be overtly apparent. If purging, this means the body won’t be maintaining proper levels of nutrients and or water.


If people are in isolation, by themselves it’s also much harder to tell how they’re doing if they live by themselves. Check in with them, and if you know them well enough, don’t be afraid to be blunt with them and ask them directly. It may be uncomfortable, but if there is an issue, they will thank you in the long run. I know this is an especially difficult one as you don’t want to set off or trigger anyone into a spiral. If you are afraid of this, maybe slyly check in, in regards to this and if you feel the need to say something or ask, then do so. Being in their own company gives them the prime opportunity to excessively weigh, restrict or binge, obsess over body image and the like.


I must stress, I am not a doctor or medically trained. Merely just talking from experience. If you are severely concerned about yourself or a loved one, please don’t hesitate to get medical help.

Stay safe! x

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